This year advertisers will spend up to $4.5 million per 30-second slot during the Super Bowl. But who is going to walk away a winner?
NBC executive Seth Winter told reporters last week that the network had already sold 95 percent of its Super Bowl ad inventory — making competition even stiffer for these very expensive ads to pay off beyond brand awareness and brand recall.
And for most Americans, the Super Bowl is as much about throwing a party with awesome snacks and talking about these pricey ads as it is the game itself. And more and more that conversation is starting before the game airs as ads “leak” early online and Super Bowl-themed ad campaigns build excitement for game day.
So what are brands doing? They’re being bolder. Releasing ads earlier. And they’re localizing their content.
Here are our picks for 10 brands primed to win the Super Bowl advertising with local content this year.
#10 Newcastle’s “Band of Brands”
Last year, Newcastle’s “If It Were Made” campaign was a hit, poking fun at the idea that they didn’t have enough money to run a Super Bowl spot. This year, they’re poking fun at ads that allegedly attempted to get banned from broadcast, featuring Parks & Recreation star Aubrey Plaza. This self-aware approach to video is sure to generate a healthy amount of buzz, online interactions, social dialogue and accolades for its creativity and results.
#9 Meijer’s “Feed The Fans”
Meijer’s recipe for success means turning to their local weekly ad for relevant Super Bowl offers. Knowing that having the right kinds of food can make or break a Super Bowl party, Meijer launched its “Feed the Fans” microsite featuring recipes for appetizers that connect with social sites like Pinterest, a special co-branded sweepstakes with Super Bowl sponsors Pepsi and Tostitos as well as a feature that allows visitors to order deli items from a local Meijer store.
Meijer wisely made this Super Bowl party planning hub a mobile-friendly experience, allowing consumers to access the special offers on whatever their preferred digital device may be. And that’s the true beauty of this ad. Rather than attempting to be something it’s not or spending profuse amounts of its marketing budget and resources on ads that are irrelevant to its shoppers’ local needs, its Super Bowl ads stay true to the retailer’s vision of delivering a one-stop shopping experience to consumers. In doing so, Meijers will sell more locally across its 200 stores in the U.S.
#8 Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl”
Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign — where the public votes for a user-generated ad to appear during the game — is a lot like the American Idol of Super Bowl marketing. Last year, the contest generated 18 million views before kickoff, with a strong performance across platforms. This year, the brand is standing by this winning digital video-driven strategy.
As our own CMO, Jeff Fagel, recently explained in CMO.com: “2015 will be the year where we break free from A/B testing and push creative to limitless executions. For example, marketers can take the creative assets of a single TV ad and localize it into hundreds of thousands of digital video ad units with hyperlocal precision down to the individual price, store and quantity available for featured products.”
#7 Carnival’s Crowdsourced Campaign
Cruise lines have taken a beating in recent years with nightmare stories about shipwrecks, power outages and outbreaks of the flu. To win back prospects, Carnival is following in Doritos’ footsteps and has launched a new multi-brand initiative with an interactive crowdsourcing contest. This campaign lets consumers choose which of four agency-created video ads will run during the Super Bowl.
The goal for many brands is to be the most talked about at the water cooler on Monday morning, post-Super Bowl Sunday. Carnival’s choice to give people something other than the football team to root for alongside a contest is a great way to revitalize interest in their brand, both nationally and locally.
#6 Best Buy’s Super Bowl Essentials
Best Buy knows all too well that football fans are willing and able to shell out big bucks for the latest, greatest and biggest TVs to improve the viewing experience. With that in mind, they’re keeping their Super Bowl ads simple and have been pushing out promotions and special offers for TVs within its mobile app for weeks with the screen images on their offers showing football players in action.
With limited screen real estate on mobile devices, Best Buy made a wise choice to use simple, team-neutral creative visuals and content to connect to its existing customer base — whether they end up rooting for the Patriots or the Seahawks — while also driving them to specific store locations to make the purchase itself.
#5 Wix.com’s #ItsThatEasy
First-time Super Bowl advertiser Wix.com has put together the #ItsThatEasy campaign, which includes a series of supplemental videos featuring former NFL players. One of these videos earned 1.6 million video plays on Facebook within 24 hours.
#ItsThatEasy underscores a powerful point about the unique capability of video ads — they offer brands the ability to engage viewers with an inspiring message that’s also locally relevant. As Wix CMO Omer Shai told AdAge, “With technology, it’s very easy to focus all of your attention on explaining why a product is amazing. … We wanted to show more of who we are as a brand and this was a perfect place to show this side of Wix.”
#4 DiGiorno’s “PreGiorno”
Few brands have done a better job not running TV spots during the Super Bowl as DiGiorno’s. This year, they’re returning to real-time social marketing with the hashtag #PreGiorno. However, to drive additional pre-game awareness, the brand is using digital video, offering online and mobile coupons, plus promoting sponsored content through demographic-friendly sites like Clickhole. They even signed NFL legend Terry Bradshaw to appear in their ads.
This campaign proves that online and mobile video ads should focus on understanding what type of content resonates with each consumer segment and, more importantly, which types of digital content, messages and offers will directly impact consumers’ decision to buy — be it online or offline. When done right, personalized digital and mobile video advertising has the power to influence local store sales.
#3 Buffalo Wild Wings’ “Posts Post Game Report”
Buffalo Wild Wings has gone all-in on paid Facebook video ads. Leveraging second-screen activity this year, BWW is taking viewer tweets and putting a SportsCenter-like video spin on them. And its first pre-Super Bowl video quickly garnered 261,200 views — 260,000 via Facebook’s video player.
With content marketing being a major point of emphasis for marketers in 2015, “Posts Post Game Report” is a great example of cleverly branded content that creates significant buzz and scales an ad experience to the individual consumer in a locally relevant and personalized way that encourages them to share the brand’s content.
#2 Toyota’s “Bold Dads”
Similarly, famous football players like Kurt Warner have joined Toyota — this time to salute “bold dads” in a supplemental campaign to their broadcast plans. The auto brand uses online-only videos to connect with Toyota owners, car enthusiasts and local car shoppers and encourage them to pay tribute to their own dads using the #OneBoldChoice hashtag. It’s a simple and touching way to connect with consumers — smartly connecting with a brand awareness message and driving towards experiences that trigger local actions like scheduling a test drive at a local dealership.
#1 Budweiser’s “House of Whatever”
Every year, Budweiser is considered an advertiser to watch at the Super Bowl. This year, parent company Anheuser-Busch will launch several digital campaigns and live promotions concurrent with its TV spot. Plus, under the banner “House of Whatever,” Bud Light will sponsor parties and concerts in select cities and will launch exclusive digital apps targeting their key 21-to-27 demographic. And just when you think that’s enough to take on in one year, they do more. In fact, Bud Light’s social media command centers — all four of them — will push out social content in real-time as well. They’re even experimenting with a Bud Light delivery app in the DC area.
This multi-pronged campaign gets a serious nod of approval (and respect) from us not just because of how comprehensive it is, but because it plans to deliver and rock the kinds of experiences that are local every step of the way. To put it simply, it looks at the behaviors of Budweiser consumers to inform “Whatever” their screen serves.
This year marketers can’t just hope for a Hail Mary. They have to come up with and execute a strong pre-game plan. They have to leverage all of their content to tell the types of brand stories that connect with local consumers. That will keep them from wasting their money and drive the type of sales action that traditional media can’t.